The Ballina Uniting Church in Cherry Street is surrounded by fencing due to concerns about its unstable structure.
The Ballina Uniting Church in Cherry Street is surrounded by fencing due to concerns about its unstable structure. Cathy Adams

Demolition on cards for historic Ballina church

THE Heritage listed Ballina Uniting Church building will likely be demolished due to structural instability if councillors vote to support the recommendation during Thursday's Ballina Council meeting.

The only other option for the almost 100-year-old building is for council to allow the Uniting Church congregation more time to find the more than $180,000 needed to undertake critical repairs.

However, a report in this week's Ballina Council agenda says this is an unlikely option, as the congregation and NSW Church Synod have advised they cannot provide any funding to repair the building.

Public safety concerns are also a key factor in the council's recommendation to approve the issue of an Emergency Order to demolish the Cheery St building.

 

If council votes to demolish the building, steps will be taken to preserve its heritage aspects.

Representatives of the church initially advised council of their concerns with the structural adequacy of the building in June last year.

Subsequent engineering reports found that the outward movement of brickwork at the top of the external walls was past critical stage and required immediate action.

This was apparently caused by sagging roof trusses spreading and placing outward loading on the side walls.

A Statement of Heritage Impact said the building should be demolished and steps taken to preserve the building's history by creating a photographic archival recording, a care-plan for the re-housing and conservation of historic moveable heritage items and the undertaking of oral histories to document gaps in the building's history.

The council report says "while the congregation has been proactive in addressing this matter, it has taken eight months to compile the structural investigation, statement of heritage, and conduct congregation and synod consultation, whilst the key building safety aspect have still not been advanced.

 

"Should funding become available, the required consultant structural advice, tendering of work, and carrying out of work would take months.

"The laneway would be required to remain closed until the work was completed. No funding is currently available."

The staff recommendation concludes "based on the public safety concerns and the Ballina Uniting Church community not being able to advance the repair and or restoration of the building, council approves the issue of an Emergency Order to demolish the Ballina Uniting Church (52-54 Cheery Street, Ballina) and mitigate the heritage impacts of demolition in accordance with the Heritage Consultant's report."



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